As a hot shot hauler, trailer versatility is the name of the game when booking loads. I run with four trailers total — two enclosed and two flatbed trailers — because running with just one trailer limits the types of jobs you are able to haul.
Here’s what I run with, depending on the job:
- Doolittle 50’ Flatbed (26,000 lbs. GVW)
- Doolittle 48’ Enclosed (22,000 lbs. GVW)
- Doolittle 44’ Enclosed (14,000 lbs. GVW)
- Doolittle 33’ Enclosed (14,000 lbs. GVW)
Keeping trailer versatility in mind, here’s my handy guide to adding a trailer to your arsenal of hauling equipment.
Buying New: You Get What You Pay For
In the buying-a-trailer game–just like most things–you get what you pay for. Are you looking for a trailer with square corners? Does the company making your trailer take time to guarantee the trailer is square? Will the construction affect how the trailer will ride, which will also affect safety on the road and tire wear? Are the welds strong? Does the company create cookie cutter trailers, or do they make each trailer one at a time to guarantee quality control?
It’s always beneficial to spend the time and money on a custom or a higher-end trailer. Your money will go a lot farther in the end as you’ll have fewer repairs and more usability.
Buying Used: Inspect and Repair
Only buy used if you absolutely have to. If you are going to buy a used trailer, take the time to thoroughly inspect the trailer before you commit to it. Look at the most important parts of the trailer for defects including: a bent frame, faulty welds, good tires, wiring and lights, bent axles and a bad trailer floor. Negotiate with the seller to lower the price if the trailer is not up to speed with what you are looking to buy or to fix the damage before you commit. If the seller is unwilling to negotiate, get a preliminary quote from a repairman before buying to keep from spending more money than the trailer is worth on repairs.
Buying Smart: Plan for Your Business
As a business owner, what are you primarily hauling? What are looking for in a trailer? Are you a Jack of All Shipments or are you focusing on something specific? Open and Enclosed trailers are equally important if you’re planning on making money. There are other things to consider such as the perfect rear door: a ramp rear door, double rear doors or one single barn-type door. The advantages of a ramp door are endless. If you’ve seen me haul stuff on television, you know what I mean. Electric brakes are the best kind of breaks for your trailer. Hydraulic surge brakes take control out of your hands — and you don’t want that.